It has taken me four years to understand what I am about to share with you.
In the summer of 2013, I discovered a newfound passion for writing and speaking that had previously laid dormant. Filled with excitement, I couldn’t wait for this dream to become a full-time endeavor. I was writing daily and striving like crazy to make it happen. I was effective and productive. As people began following along, my excitement grew.
But hindsight often affords us the clarity we lack in the moment. What I know now that I didn’t know back then is that effectiveness and productivity aren’t always the best markers for success. The truth is, my passion and productivity had consumed me. As a result, I became a poor steward of what I had been given.
I had a great career in insurance for a company that I truly loved and clients that I treasured. But selfishly, childishly, I focused more on what I didn’t have instead of the blessings that were already there. Back then, I would have told you that I was being patient—that I was trusting God and being faithful. I wasn’t. I was living entitled. As if God and the world owed me my dream on my terms because of my effort. Quietly, I harbored frustration toward anyone who seemed to oppose what I was doing. Those emotions left me exhausted, frustrated, and angry.
Fortunately, God began a work in me. A slow and deep process of removing the strongholds that kept me from seeing clearly and living faithfully. It began with a cancer diagnosis that taught me to trust Him absolutely. It continued with a conviction to live present in each moment instead of longing for a destination. And it culminated in the understanding of the importance of humility—a genuine willingness to be taught.
This four year process of growth has led me to this place—a place I call, “The And”. “The And” is the place where we live fully and freely in who God has called us to be. We are faithful to what we’ve been given and we have a vision for where we’re going. We are humbled by God and confidently empowered by His presence.
Living in “The And” is a lot like riding a bike. If you go too fast and get ahead of God, you’ll lose control. But if you stop altogether and fall behind His provision, you’ll lose momentum and fall over. It’s in this quiet yet active place, where we best mature. This is where we bear fruit and learn some of life’s greatest lessons. And one of the sweetest, but hardest lessons I’ve learned is the lesson of courageous patience.
The Truth About Courage
Early on, courage looked a lot like taking risks. It looked like writing a book and standing up in front of an audience to speak. But in time, I’ve come to understand the profound truth that courage is patient. It takes courage to wait—to trust God so exclusively that your circumstances lose their power. Instead of being driven by what you see, you’re driven by what you know to be true.
Sure, it takes courage to quit your job and chase your dreams. But it also takes a heck of a lot of courage to continue—to persist in the face of adversity, to hold fast to hope, and steward what you’ve been given. In the same way, it takes courage to be faithful to someone who has treated you unfairly, or go the extra mile with someone who has taken advantage of you. These don’t always “feel” right, but they require faith that God will live up to His end of the bargain. And He will.
Everyone thinks that David was courageous for charging Goliath. But if you know the story, David had been preparing for that moment for most of his life. As a shepherd, David had protected his sheep against attacks from lions, wolves, and bears. Now, as a shepherd, he was protecting God’s army from the attack of a giant. David’s faithfulness and patience prepared him for his moment of courage.
The point is, you’ll only have the courage to fight your giant if you’ve been patient with the process.
The Truth About Patience
There’s a misconception that patience is a hellish waiting room. Like we’re waiting for our number to be called while wasting away in a chair, or sitting on a couch waiting on God to answer. But that’s not what patience is at all. Patience takes courage—it’s us doing the work when no one is looking. It’s continuing to put one foot in front of the other while the rest of the world tells us to quit.
The world gives up too easily. In a got-to-have-it-now culture, we’ve inadvertently developed an unwillingness to wait. It’s not that we can’t, it’s that we’ve forgotten how. Waiting has somehow become lazy. That’s absurd. Waiting isn’t lazy, it’s faithful.
The sin of the Prodigal Son wasn’t his wild living and reckless lifestyle. His sin was his impatience. He wasn’t willing to wait for his inheritance. Instead, he demanded it before it was due. I’ve gone back to this story time and time again over the past four years. In the beginning, there’s no way I saw myself as the Prodigal Son, but I was. I made demands of my Father based on what I wanted most instead of being most satisfied to just be His son.
And that’s what impatience does—it robs us. It steals our peace and replaces it with busyness—as if more work, or more effort, or more resources are what we need. Then, when we’ve finally exhausted ourselves, we come to our senses and realize that the only thing we really need is the patience to trust our Father for what He wanted to give us in the first place.
I believe the two things God asks for from us are a humble, hungry heart and the courageous patience to follow where He leads. Everything else is us getting in the way. If you find yourself in a season of frustration or exhaustion, take a moment to consider why.
When you learn to slow down, life comes in to focus. But at the same time, you have to be moving to take advantage of the winds of favor along the way. That’s living in “The And”.
Over the past four years, I’ve gotten in the way a lot. But God has been gentle and patient with me through the process. He will do the same for you. Learn to be patient and courageous, humble and confident, at rest and active. God will take it from there.